From a recent speech by Will Levis, the new editor of the Daily Telegraph who has accused the newspaper industry of having been “bloated, lazy and arrogant” and failing to wake up soon enough to the challenges of the digital age.
Lewis, in a keynote address, sponsored by the Telegraph Media Group and Editorial Intelligence held at St Bride’s church in Fleet Street, about “change and renewal” in the press, said newspapers had “taken readers for granted” and deserved the trouble some are now facing.
Those newspapers that still, ostrich-like, refused to appreciate the opportunities and benefits of the internet would face a “bleak and brutal” future.
“Having fought and won its battle with the print industry in the mid-80s, the industry became once again bloated, lazy and arrogant.
Fleet Street continued to operate on the same assumptions about its readers, just as those readers began changing their reading and consumption patterns, and in many cases walking away from the newspapers they once held dear.
And what was the response of the industry?
Not much, it would seem, except to take heart that we were all in the same, sinking boat.”
Lewis said the press only had itself to blame for falling sales.
“If the newspaper industry took a beating, it deserved one. It took readers for granted and continued to make assumptions about them that no longer held true.”
“The tough times of the past few years have been very useful in many ways.
We now know as an industry what we are not good at, be it IT, distribution, customer service.
We also have extreme clarity about what we are good at – the story.”
“Working out what people are interested in, what’s important to them, presenting information in the best possible ways.
More complex is the array of tools we can now use to tell the story.”